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New biofuel facility in NSW to advance cost-effective ethanol production

November 24, 2017 • News

Australian biofuel company Ethanol Technologies Limited has been awarded $11.9 million in funding from ARENA to finalise the development and demonstration of its groundbreaking advanced biofuel technology.

The $48 million project will see Ethtec build a pilot-scale facility in the Hunter Valley in NSW, which will produce ethanol from a range of non-food waste plant matter left over from crop harvesting and forestry.

Ethtec’s Chief Scientist Dr Russell Reeves said the company has so secured $11.9 million in matching funding from leading industry partner Jiangsu Jintongling Fluid Machinery Technology Company Limited.

“An ethanol fuel industry based on lignocellulosic biomass can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport and industrial sectors, create opportunities for regional and rural communities, make crop and forest production more economical and assist in land rehabilitation,” Dr Reeves continued.

“With the support of the Australian Government, we are hoping to engineer a more cost-competitive process for producing ethanol that will make use of existing biomass materials and create a world-leading facility for advanced biofuels.”

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project aimed at making advanced biofuels ‘a viable option’ to support emission reduction for the transport sector.

“Advanced biofuels provides an exciting opportunity for Australia to open up export avenues and also help reduce emissions from the transport sector,” he stated.

“Ethtec’s facility in the Hunter Valley will demonstrate a new and innovative process for the production of bioethanol, gaining pivotal research and development experience that will lead to the commercialisation of the process and position Australia as a leader in advanced biofuels.”

“The global demand for biofuels is expected to triple by 2050, with most of the growth to be met by ethanol so technological breakthroughs that make producing ethanol from waste more efficient is game changing.”

The world-leading facility, which will produce bioethanol from a range of waste or low-value products including sugarcane bagasse, forestry residues and cotton gin trash, will partner with researchers from the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle and is also receiving support from Muswellbrook Shire Council.

Image credit: Ethtec (via arena.gov.au)

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